Mural paintings in Ancient Peru: The case of Tambo Colorado, Pisco Valley

Véronique Wright, Gianella Pacheco, Henry Torres, Oliver Huaman, Aldo Watanave, Elvira L. Zeballos-Velasquez, Matthew R. Suchomel, Leopoldo Suescun, Cléa Moulin, Patricia Carola Melero Sandoval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Tambo Colorado is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the Southern Peruvian coast, because of its stunning architecture, its extraordinary pictorial decoration, and its strategic location in the section of the Great Inca Road. The Research Project Tambo Colorado considers necessary to conduct a comprehensive analysis encompassing nature of the materials (archaeometric analysis) as well as a proper understanding of their conservation status of its architecture. In this regard interdisciplinary research provides the necessary tools to achieve these goals. For this reason our team is integrated by archaeometrists, engineers, conservators and archaeologists. Due to of this transdisciplinary approach, one of the main objective is the study of painting technology developed by the craftsmen of the site. The first results obtained, thanks to an analytical strategy combining observation and elemental and structural analysis (colorimetry, SEM-EDS, XRF, XRD and SXRD), allow us to identify the coloring materials used. These data enabled to reconstruct the operational chain followed to elaborate the murals (since the pigments extraction to the making of the murals) but also to consider and develop a suitable surfaces conservation plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalScience and Technology of Archaeological Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Véronique Wright is a Doctor in Ethnology, Anthropology and Prehistory, specialist in Pre-Columbian Archaeology and Archaeometry applied to colouring materials. Researcher of the French Institute of Andean Studies (IFEA) in Lima, she is currently in charge of the archaeological and archaeome-trical investigations of the Archaeological Research Project Tambo Colorado funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Funding Information:
4Archaeological mission established according to a quadrennial plan started in 2013 that receives financing from the Advisory Commission of Archaeological Abroad Research of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI) and logistical support from the French Institute of Andean Studies (IFEA) of Lima. 5Collaboration with the Proyecto Arqueológico Huacas del Sol y de la Luna in Trujillo. 6∆E=√((L*1-L*1′)²+(a*1-a*1′)²+(b*1-b*1′)²) 7 If ∆E < 1: evolution no perceptible to the naked eye; ∆E > 2-3: evolution perceptible to the naked eye; ∆E > 3: evolution very perceptible to the naked eye. 8Collaboration with the Laboratorio de Arqueología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) in Lima.

Funding Information:
Use of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DEAC02-06CH11357.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Archaeometry
  • Conservation
  • Inca
  • Mural painting
  • Peru


Dive into the research topics of 'Mural paintings in Ancient Peru: The case of Tambo Colorado, Pisco Valley'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this